GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 June)– The city government has invested around P12.5 million in the last two years for the upgrading and establishment of speech and computer laboratories in various public schools here.
Percival Pasuelo, information and communications technology division head of the city mayor’s office, said Tuesday the funds were mainly utilized by the local government to acquire new personal computer (PC) sets and develop the speech and computer laboratories of 58 public elementary and secondary schools in the area.
He said the city government has so far delivered 790 PCs to local public schools as part of the implementation of its expanded school computerization program.
Aside from the computers, Pasuelo said they provided the recipient-schools and students with the necessary software, reference materials and trainings through the city’s enhanced SHEEP-Computer Literacy Program (CLP).
SHEEP stands for Social Transformation, Human Empowerment, Economic Diversification, Environment Security and Regeneration and Participatory Governance and Transparency, which are the city’s main development thrusts.
Outgoing Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio earlier pushed for the expansion and the implementation of the “re-engineered” CLP as a major component of the SHEEP program’s education initiatives.
Pasuelo said the delivery of the new PCs as well as the establishment of the speech and computer laboratories were completed in just 20 months or from July 2011 to March this year.
He said such accomplishment is considered a record since the city’s school computerization program started in 1999.
From 1999 to 2001, the administration of then Mayor Adelbert Antonino provided each of the city’s 16 public high schools with 20 PCs each or a total of 320 units that cost around P9.5 million.
During the term of Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr., the city government spent around P13.5 million for the delivery of 540 PCs and the establishment of more computer laboratories in public elementary schools from 2002 to 2009.
Aside from public schools, Pasuelo said the Department of Education’s (DepEd) alternative learning systems unit and senior citizens groups were also given PCs and free basic computer skills trainings.
“To date, we have invested [P35.62 million] in the purchase and distribution of 1,650 computer units to all public elementary and high schools, alternative learning systems and senior citizens groups,” he said in a statement.
The official said that under the CLP’s training component, thousands of local residents have so far availed of basic to advanced computer-related trainings and courses.
“The training courses went beyond basic computer operations. The program now offers call center training, web development, lay-outing, photo editing, animation, autocad and database programming,” Pasuelo said.
He said the beneficiaries include elementary and high school students, teachers, out-of-school youths, civil society organizations, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
A total of 574 residents, comprising college graduates and out-of-school youths, have already benefitted from the CLP’s free call center training, he said.
In 2012 alone, Pasuelo said around 8,000 residents received free computer-related trainings, with a significant number catered during the CLP’s Summer Multimedia Boot Camp.
For this year, he said some 3,193 residents completed various courses under the summer boot camp while around 7,400 more have availed of basic to advanced computer trainings conducted by the CLP from January to May. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)